Autophagy: Linking Sleep and Fasting

Quality Sleep = Better Mental Functions + Better Physical Functions + Natural Anti-Aging

MENTAL HEALTH: Getting enough quality sleep is vital for our brains to function properly.
Lack of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) = Impaired memory + slower cognitive functioning + poor concentration
Proper Sleep = Increased Focus + Ability to Concentrate + Improved Memory and Learning

PHYSICAL HEALTH: Getting enough quality sleep is vital for our bodies to function properly
Lack of Sleep = Increased Inflammation + Increase in Chronic Illnesses
Poor Quality Sleep = Increase in inflammatory mediator CRP (C-reactive protein) + higher levels of stress hormone cortisol + higher risk of cardiovascular problems

ANTI-AGING: Getting enough quality sleep is vital for natural anti-aging.
Stage 3 and 4 (NREM) and (REM) Sleep = Increase HGH (Human Growth Hormone) + Repairs and Replenishes Cells + better weight management



– 1 Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
– 2 Create an atmosphere in your bedroom that is good for sleeping: darkness, a humidifier for dry climates, a comfortable temperature and a good sleep surface.
– 3 If you can’t fall asleep after 15 minutes or so, leave your bed to go relax again. In a softly lit room, read another chapter of your book or listen to soft music – whatever it takes to make you sleepy again.nnPerhaps an easy round of tai chi, light yoga or qi gong breathing.


Regular Exercise + Meditation = Improved Sleep Quality

But timing is also important. For example, if you do any sort of intense exercise late in the evening that is likely to rob you of good quality sleep. High intensity and aerobic workouts should be done in the morning or at least a couple of hours before bedtime.

The same is true for computers, laptops, cellphones. Turn off all electronics at least an hour before bedtime and dim the lights as well. Electronics that use blue light are a significant waking cue to the brain. In fact, I use timed blue light shields on my laptops and tablets. You can install them free…
Get f.lux for Windows here F.lux. Also available for Mac and Linux. For Tablets and Cell phones you can download the Twilight app from your Google Play Store. Both are free.



AUTOPHAGY = Improved Sleep Quality + Increased Energy and Youthful Vitality

The best rules for eating habits that will improve sleep quality are the same rules for AUTOPHAGY. Basically, autophagy is the process by which cells clean themselves and re-energize. Autophagy removes old dead or broken mitochondria (a cell’s energy engine) allowing the cell to replenish with new, stronger mitochondria. This happens when the body is either resting or sleeping and when the digestive system has finished a hard day’s work.

As far as sleep is concerned, one should refrain from heavy meals at least two hours or more before bedtime. In order to optimize autophagy, one tries to reverse the normal fasting and eating windows. Usually people only fast when they sleep – eight hours if not stressed or hurried – and perhaps an hour or two before bedtime. So, that only leaves, at most, a 10-hour fasting window and a 14-hour feeding window. Reverse that. Example, let’s say you go to bed at 10 PM and get up at 6AM. So, to reverse the windows. Have your last meal around 6 or 7 PM. Then, in the morning, don’t rush off to McDonald’s for that Egg McMuffin or over to Starbucks for that morning latte. Instead, have a glass of water, herb tea or juice and hold off on that breakfast until 8 AM or later. From 6 PM to 8 AM is 14 hours, an ideal fasting window. That leaves you a 10-hour feeding window – 8 AM to 6 PM – or whatever hours fit your schedule. I usually try for a 15-hour window.

I mentioned Starbucks. Well, caffeine in general stays in your system 8 – 12 hours, depending on what and how much you drink. To improve sleep quality, you need to reduce caffeine intake from coffee, tea and sodas, and, yes, even chocolate. Don’t deprive yourself, but you common sense to reduce.

One last thing – supplementation. Melatonin has become the end-all and be-all of sleep supplements. Bad idea. Why? Because most people over-supplement. To optimize your circadian cycle, you should not take more that 1mg of melatonin before bedtime. Even .3mgs is probably enough for most. I take a 1mg tablet and cut it in half (.5mgs) that is usually enough to for a sound night’s sleep. If you should awake and cannot get back to sleep, then take the other half.

Warm milk at bedtime is also helpful. It contains L-tryptophan, a precursor to seratonin, the sleep hormone. If you can stand the taste, a little baking soda (no more than 1/2 tsp) has also been known to improve sleep.

For a more detailed discussion of sleep and its effect on autophagy, weight gain and insulin resistance, read the following from Dr. Mercola…

Synchronizing all the Body’s Circadian Clocks



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